Public Art Grant 2015 | Shweta Bhattad

The FICA Public Art Grant 2015 will support the Gram Dhara Chitra Utsav by Shweta Bhattad. The jury this year included Anuradha Kapur (Adjunct/Visiting Professor, School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University, and former Director of NSD, New Delhi); Pushpamala N (Visual Artist); Sabih Ahmed (Senior Researcher, Asia Art Archive, New Delhi); and Bhooma Padmanabhan from the FICA team. The decision by the jury was made after two rounds of short-listing and selection.

Shweta Bhattad’s project was selected for its focused attempt to engage with a rural community (farmers, villagers, and social workers) and bring about a dialogue on traditional knowledge systems with regard to farming and water management with the help of artistic processes. After considering various parameters, such as, her deep-rooted relationship with the village community, her ongoing work there, her commitment to using artistic and dialogical means to develop the work, and her ability to mobilize a group of artists in this process, the jury made their selection.

Gram Dhara Chitra Utsav (loosely translated as ‘Village Land Art Festival’) aims to bring together artists with young farmers and youth from the Paradsinga village, on the border between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, to rediscover traditional methods of farming and irrigation through developing land art installations in collaboration with each other. As Shweta puts it, it is “a collaborative work between artists, farmers, villagers and social workers”, and will involve monthly workshops and interactions between these groups, and culminate in a one day utsav, imagined as a village mela or festival with various elements of art, craft, performance and discussions on the project itself.

Shweta Bhattad is a visual artist and performer. She is a trained sculptor, having completed her BFA in Nagpur, and MVA in MS University of Baroda. She has worked across mediums in the past, with a strong focus on issues of women’s safety, education, and the female body. She has done two solo shows - Kabhi Namak Tumhe Kam Laga Kabhi Namak Tumhe Jyada Laga Kabhi, Latitude 28, Delhi, (2015) and Wax Magic, SCZCC, Nagpur, India, (2005). Her group exhibitions include Ma Ma curated by Shu Lun Wu, Topia Arts, Hualien City, Taiwan, (2015); I Have A Dream, a collaborative global farming project, Vancouver Biennale (2014-16); Mapping Gender, curated by Sandhya Gajjar, in collaboration with Artcore Derby, UK (2013) among others. She has been awarded Khoj Ecology & Byways, Negotiating routes - V, 2014; Art Intensive Scholarship, at Khoj Delhi, India, 2012; 50th National Exhibition of Art organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi at Chandigarh, India, 2008.